01 February 2024

News from Samling Artists – January 2024

Competition successes

We start our news for 2024 with congratulations to tenor Filipe Manu who was jointly awarded first prize at the 61st Concurso Tenor Viñas in Barcelona, with the prize including a contract to sing at the Gran Teatre del Liceu next season. Filipe was also awarded the Plácido Domingo prize for the best tenor in the competition. Soprano Sarah Gilford was also a finalist in the competition.

Francesca Lauri was awarded Titanic Memoriam Pianist Prize in the RCM Lies Askonas competition. She will be accompanying several singers in the competition final next month, including tenor Dafydd Jones.


Harriet Burns and Ian Tindale (pictured above) have released their debut disc as a duo, titled ‘Schubert Lieder: Love’s Lasting Power’. Ian writes to say ‘We are so proud of this disc, which has been a thrilling opportunity to curate and record a powerful sequence of songs that speak strongly to some of the relationships Schubert held dearest in his life. It is also deeply meaningful music with which we have a close affinity as a duo, and it is a world of repertoire in which we have come to feel at home over the years.’

Above, Harriet and Ian in recording sessions at St Mary’s Church, Haddington.
Photo credit

James Baillieu appears on ‘A Lionel Tertis Celebration’ with viola player Timothy Ridout, a celebration of the life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest viola players. The album was named Recording of the Week by Presto Music and Editor’s Choice by Gramophone Magazine.

Ruby Hughes has released a new album in collaboration with the Manchester Collective ‘End of my days’, including songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Tavener, John Dowland, Caroline Shaw, Gustav Mahler, Errollyn Wallen and Deborah Pritchard. The project was originally created during the Covid lockdown as a way of examining how music could reflect on the challenges of isolation and mortality. Erica Jeal writing in The Guardian called it ‘an intriguing, eclectic programme’ that showed both vulnerability and strength.

Award Nominations

BBC Music Magazine Award

Alexandra Lowe’s debut album ‘Le voyage’ has been nominated in the Newcomer category for the BBC Music Magazine Awards.

To vote for Alexandra, go to (voting closes at midnight on 23 February)

RPS Awards

Nicky Spence has been shortlisted in the category of Best Singer in the 2024 RPS Awards

Opera News

Olivia Warburton made her house debut at Staatsoper Hamburg to critical acclaim as Anne Frank in Grigori Frid’s Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank) in a new production by David Bösch. She also makes role debuts this season in Hamburg in Jenůfa (Rychtarka) and Suor Angelica (Alms Sister).

Jerome Knox makes his role debut as Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress with English Touring Opera in their spring tour. Amy J Payne is Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress and in ETO’s other production, Manon Lescaut she sings the role of Naval Captain, and Edward Jowle is in the ensemble in both operas. Our friends in the North East can see them at Gala Durham on 25 and 26 March.

Lauren Fagan has replaced Danielle de Niese as Musetta in the Royal Opera House’s La bohème in the classic Richard Jones production. Writing in the Independent, Jessica Duchen says ‘chemistry between [Rudolfo and Mimi] was a tad outshone by that of Marcello and Musetta – baritone Mikhail Timoshenko and soprano Lauren Fagan – who blended seriously impressive singing with uninhibited sensuality to magnificent effect.’

Shakira Tsindos makes her role debut as Mercédès in Carmen with Staatsoper Hamburg at The Shenzhen Opera & Dance Theatre, China, alongside Ginger Costa-Jackson in the title role.

Annabel Kennedy joins the Opernstudio at Opera am Rhein in Düsseldorf next season.

Claire Barnett-Jones makes her house debut at Dutch National Opera singing the role of ‘The Government’ in the world premiere of The Shell Trial by Ellen Reid, an opera that explores the climate crisis through a range of different viewpoints.

Faryl Smith and Daniel Barrett have been selected as young artists at Opera Holland Park this season. Daniel sings the title role in The Barber of Seville and Faryl takes the role of Berta.


Tenor Filipe Manu, joint winner of the 61st Concurso Tenor Viñas

Lauren Fagan(Musetta) in La bohème © ROH 2024. Photo by Camilla Greenwell

Olivia Warburton in 'Der Tagebuch der Anne Frank', Staatsoper Hamburg